USGS executes Option year number one for Architecture IDIQ

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Today, Xentity was awarded Option year #1 for the U.S. Geological Survery IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture . This is the 6th year Xentity has provided outstanding Geospatial Integrated Services and Capabilities and Architecture services to the USGS and the results have continue. If interested in leveraging out IDIQ read the background below and review our USGS IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture

USGS National Geospatial Program Architecture Background

Xentity provides segment architecture development support in Program and Product Planning, Geospatial Data Acquisition and Production Lifecycle Management, Delivery Services, and Resource Management. Xentity also supported analyzing strategic planning and relation to architecture. EA development was based on the defined Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM).  As well, Xentity supported the transition from development to implementation which included such services as:

  • Blueprint Roadmap Development
  • Governance Formation, Analysis and Consulting
  • Solution Architecture Management Consulting
  • Operational Quality Analysis – Capacity, Availability, Continuity Analysis
  • Business Activity and Role Analysis
  • Planning Support and Consulting
  • Implementation Facilitation Support
  • Change Management and Consulting
  • Service-Level Management Consulting

Additionally, Xentity assisted the USGS in creating a communication product plan. This included:

  • Extraction of the communication products and communication product activities into a singular unified communication product plan.
  • Documented advice and tactics to product and service leads about opportunities unifying and coordinating events for the purpose of (1) increasing presence relating to TNM and USGS brands and (2) making communication product spending more efficient.
  • Documented advice about strategic communication techniques and products, including but not limited to branding rollout, key differentiator message support, Maturity road map support, conducting of customer meetings, and capturing stakeholder positioning statements for products,
  • Training on newer communication concepts such as social media

Xentity Performance:

Xentity has had 100% deliverable acceptance by USGS and were all on-time and on-budget. Of the 4 blueprints, the resulting 200+ milestones are now being implemented under Xentity supported Program Management Office, and are seeing improvements in all areas. Xentity’s support in providing solution architecture patterns are seeing over 100 IT assets are slated to be retired and still have increase usership, but at a lower cost. NGP Director implemented some organizational management improvements, of which some were based on the Xentity supported resource management roadmap. USGS NGP has shifted to a prioritized stakeholder-driven model to help better invest in data, product, and service content and features the users want/need. Operation Centers have taken to using new internal management processes and toolsets such as online document management collaboration and wikis, online issue/task tracking, migration for some NGP products and services to an ITIL Service Desk “triage” model with a much shorter and reasonable response period, and some early adoption of using Agile Project Management techniques to increase output.

In the area of Communications, Xentity provided the following services to the USGS on this contract even slow adoption of new concepts are yielding large benefits. From supporting a few hundred person inaugural The National Map user conference with a very well received brand treatment and event strategies. Conference support also included pre, during, and post event functions such as A/V coordination, feedback mechanism, last-minute event communication product generation, to seeing new social media accounts and other tools as recommended in the product communication sequence plans. Product Leads have received multiple communication training sessions which concepts included coach Influencing/Sales skills to P&S Leads. Consult on visual ID compliance, Advise and consult with the timing, communication paths, relationships, and critical success factors.

User relevancy is critical as prior to 2008, usage was actually on the decline, Search internet on The National Map User Conference which Xentity directly supported in setting up this inaugural event for May 2011 and results of program usership and product access also was observed as much as 3 times, but generally as 25% uptick in usage. Delivery usage post-conference saw a jump in increased usage, which continues to grow.  Delivery Solutions architecture results has continued to see higher usership and relevance to its users, all while not increasing the IT footprint, and in many places decreasing it while increasing service operation qualities.

What do current disruptive technologies mean to the roles of the Federal CIO office

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Matt Tricomi

We wanted to ask: What do current disruptive technologies mean to the roles of the Federal CIO office? 

Currently the Counter Weights are in Legacy footprints, primarily legacy policy

Traditionally, the operating model and funding approach for IT has been based on the Brooks Act of 1965 and only added minor portfolio integration concepts based on the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. These acts were focused on internal IT cost-based centers, management information systems, mission control systems, and enterprise resource planning systems. These systems were all either internal mission or data processing systems used to run business. Since 1996, a lot has happened in the IT based. It has moved from cost center to profit center in the private sector and in the government space to service or profit center as well (i.e. profit for IRS in efiling). As normally is the case when shifting positions of an asset to the executive level, this also means the investment models change and shift as it is now a critical part of executing transactions and interactions direct with the public, yet our policies are now 20-50 years old.

A few general observations :
  1. The Federal experiment with Clinger Cohen and Circular A-130 addressing the role of the CIO and Enterprise Architecture has not neared fulfilling its objective. New strategies such as CloudFirst and Federal Shared Services are guiding investment, but not new roles of CIOs.
  2. The policy and roles need to be readdressed to manage disruptive technologies like shared services, commoditized cloud computing, information exchange or data and knowledge driven analytics and “who-knows-what-else” coming down the line.  
  3. The CIO’s shop has not been able to transform to meet the basic demands of security and infrastructure disruptions let alone attempts to solve the needs of the mission.  
  4. Additionally, Enterprise Architecture is and has been miscast and ill-defined within the CIO organization and as a result is being used for compliance reporting or to support internal CIO initiatives leaving the mission out in the cold.  

If these statements are agreed to be true, Is it a wonder that a nearly a dozen years after the circular was published that people are still asking “What is Enterprise Architecture”?  Or does the Capital Planning & Investment Control (CPIC) process really lend itself to shared services? Are these skills and tools in the right organization?

Opportunities abound if the right people are managing the disruptions

The federal government opportunities for improvement are many but the most valued will be floating betwixt and between the current organizational, process and data architectures – in the federal architecture ether. 
This poses an especially difficult task to the business.  The mission leaders need to be allocating skilled resources to understanding how to assess the value of disruptive technologies or service changes to address their goals.    It is old school thinking that the CIO as a service provider can penetrate their mission problems with the timely and appropriate application of technology.  The development of extensible cloud computing platforms with transparent accounting systems provides an essential key for the mission to step in, reposition itself, and own the movement towards shared services, enhanced information exchanges or improved mission processes.  After all, they are the immediate beneficiaries.

What might these new roles look like?

What might this look like from a 100,000 foot perspective? In a Business Week article, it summarizes the new role of the Federal CIO, historically an IT manager, is now:

 In sum, the successful CIO needs an intimate idea of how current technology can increase the company’s sales and not just reduce costs or improve clerical productivity.

Beyond the CIO role, there are several other key leadership roles to consider in new, coordinated policy.

  • The future CIO role should be targeted to managing infrastructure services and support shared mission services. The CIO can retain the acronym but in essence they should be managers of cross cutting infrastructure and once agreed to and designed and built by the business – shared mission services.  
  • The Chief Architect provides the analysis and design expertise to the Program Managers and Chief Knowledge Officer to help plan for the adoption of the disruption.  
  • Ultimate accountability for performance will be the charge of the Chief Performance Officer.  

In order to achieve true business agility while supported by the adoption of disruptive technologies and services, these roles will need to be figured out how to be repositioned to improve the government’s business capabilities and satisfy citizens, businesses, and cross-government customers.

Transformation cannot survive without a Powerpoint intervention

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Wiki Admin

We’ve subscribed to Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group for several years now. Mostly lurking.  Over that time, we definitely have been able to put great items in our “shopping cart” and gather a tenor of the state of EA. Our methods and work products are becoming more streamlined – at varying paces of satisfaction. Our work products are improving with training and information availability. But in that time, much like our U.S. policies on EA hasn’t changed since the Clinger-Cohen Act in 1996 pre-internet, neither has our EA communication mediums. 

We could blame ourselves, as we do as we are natural evaluators, and we tend to work on content, methods, arguing approaches – we look at the hard science. This is not uncommon as EAs tend to derive from IT which is about logic, organization, and somehow dealing with rapid transformation.
But, the executives, the ones we work for are still struggling with how they go about Layering Cultural and Business Transformation with rapid technology transformation. 
I’d offer we are looking in the wrong place. Yes, our methods, frameworks, tools could improve – a lot! But its the softer side of how we present, what we present to which audience I believe is what is killing enterprise, segment, portfolio, or any large transformation efforts with enterprise architecture seeking to be in the forefront. 

We’d offer an initial focus change for EA and transformation in and of itself: change our communication mediums

Corporations and Government are in lust with slideware, so we use such. To the point, Powerpoint is killing transformation analysis and EA and other complex topics and our core architecture conceptsPPT is too sequential and too outline oriented. Its been used, abused, and most of the time we use it in knee-jerk fashion.

How we get them off slide-meth (or pick your drug metaphor) is the trick?  Call me a Tuftian (Search Edward Tufte Powerpoint).

Getting people to care about Transformation and Architecture

Anyhow, if we want people to care, back to the title of the thread in Google groups, I think the content from this group and the general community is all well and very good in many cases, but we are in need of a branding enema. 
EA is in desperate need of marketing and branding. The efforts of the EA Google Group community and across the spectrum are good basis of content, but finding that audience to engage is our interest.  We need a way to focus on storytelling the output to multiple audiences. Anyone interested in some new mediums for presenting EA or transformation concepts.
To be very fair, at my company, we’re a a big offender as well – buzzword bingo, write too much (constant battle with the Twain Pascal quote “If I Had More Time I Would Write a Shorter Letter”) , go too far down path ahead of client, pushing, etc. while balancing challenging the client, helping them challenge themselves, simplifying complexity, and seek what most people fear – change. 
So, as a start, we have beta’d some variant approaches on some clients –
  • Early phases of powerpoint exit strategy 
    • Weening off powerpoint with 1-pager and a graphic and more discussion time, no presentation (maybe some highlights)
    • Switching powerpoints to be graphical only/mostly and use whitepaper conpendium so they can read themselves when discussing graphic
  • Increasing communication role over work products
    • Treating Communication products as dear and near as our architecture work products when organizing by audience level and focus area (choose your favorite framework when considering that)
    • Interactive data visualization for self-exploration with an executive summary – make it fun to see the line of sight.
  • Agile Management and its communication mediums/tools – notification tracking with plans as they are implemented in Program Management Offices
    • Minor little things like allowing users to reply to the notification and not to have to log in
    • Integrate Content wiki’s with data repositories to increase exploration possibilities and context which allows to notifications on discussions
    • Shifting email discussions to comment threads on issue tracking and content wiki’s which again further increase transparency and exposes transactive knowledge hidden in emails or hidden group threads.
  • Storytell with the goals, outcomes, impacts, and other high-points and denouement.  
    • Can be done using a low-cost high-quality mini-documentary (TLC/History Cable Channel quality) style that storytells about programs, the changes, from customer and investor point of views (rather than self-serving). 
    • Blog more – storytell more – bits and pieces at a time – rather than gems hidden in industry groups, open up the transparency and inclusivity of the topics.
But, we would like to take a step further.  

Here is an example of a mini-documentary, one in a series of four that helps tell the story of the client’s program, its value and the underlying tone of change its undergone, undergoing, and planned:

More can be seen at Communication Services (Video Series Example) which further describes:
These simple stories can show and explain the value of complex programs products, services, solutions, and systems that powerpoints, whitepapers, or multiple conferences cannot achieve. As well, these mediums have helped convey messages, even during times of pressures to reduce travel.

We’d like to do a video series for transformation and EA not unlike what Penn State did for Geospatial as part of their Geospatial Revolution Series – http://geospatialrevolution.psu.edu/ . It would be interesting to pool partners, efforts, gather up funding, and put together a series (process disclaimers aside) using mediums that connect EA and transformation in this new light. Anyone interested, can keep posted on threads in Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group

What are some patterns or anti-patterns where architecture and governance can help

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Architecture programs can be help to organizations – but for many different reasons. In same breath, by not identifying the needs for doing architecture, an architecture program can address problems that do not exist or leaders or team do not care about, and can become a waste of money or relegated to a compliance exercise.

At Xentity, we believe instituting architecture, governance or design guidance needs to address patterns, anti-patterns that create portfolio, solution and analysis management strategies that help deal with disruptions, investment in innovation, and shrinking budgets while improving services and aligning suppliers and partners.

Below are some example external pressure trends, common impact or anti-pattern trends cutting across cultural, business, and technology aspects of programs

  • Resistance to Change Planning: Intellectual approaches without balancing emotional or maturity context, not engaging leaders motives, pain, not seed-planting
  • Paving Cow Paths:  Automating management problems, function over form, not questioning assumptions, not looking at new (HR, IT, $) resource enablement patterns
  • Geek Speak Execs don’t get it, and its not their fault
  • Poor Modernization Blueprints: Mile-High, Inch-Deep, without proving pieces at time to gain momentum
  • Islands of Automation: aka Center of Universe – disparate sites, systems, apps, instead of services in user environment
  • Redundant Buying: Buying same item many times, no architecture  guidance to scale or change patterns

  • Program Management: Few delivered on time, on budget, on scope, on quality. Sponsorship lacking, not insuring/governing/buying risk, still not agile PM

  • Bad Data: Building GIGO Business Intelligence. Asking the wrong question of data which in turn leads to data collection failures.
  • Poor Cyber Security: IT security seen as lagging  IT cost, instead of asset-risk management issue
  • Too Much Change: Executives and Consultants promote constant flux, instead of unfreezing, adding change, and institutionalize new efforts and concepts
  • Problem seems insurmountable: Too large, complex leading to reversion to waterfall project planning techniques. The window for 2 years to test to new overhauling policies are gone. Business agility requires negotiation between business for prioritizing and agile project rollout.
  • Vision/Thought Leadership left to higher-ups only:  Challenging to staff to truly envision a change or target state not part of their incentive, even though best tactical ideas to enhance/meet strategy usually comes from within. Thinking gets bound up in current operational mire.
  • Revolving Door: Working to satisfy the management of today for organization political or self interest purposes. Middle management is often positioned or left to be soft with few exceptions on the drive needed to manage change. For example, with middle management and up are nearing or at retirement, large amounts started to retire, the churn caused by vacuum-effect at high level makes long term initiatives difficult to start or sustain.
  • Compliance Driven: Overwhelming amount of data calls with heavy-handed “fines”. Manage and plan to compliance – measuring to ineffectual measures
  • Compliance too complicated to understandCost/Price analysis on subcontractor costsSelf-monitoring/compliance reviews, manage contracting risks, methods and evidence used for estimation, understanding government acquisition regulations. Without expert help, small businesses are heavily limited to engaging.
  • Planning to the beast and not the customer: Fear at operational level of making decisions that lead to a innovative approaches or straying from norm – risk adverse. No reward for doing things better.
  • Delivering Value not part of Culture: Not sure of value of what we produce. no clarity on strategic outcomes and therefore have little recognition of recommended initiatives and what they mean to the workforce.
  • Blackbox Syndromes (aka Man behind the Curtain): Information Technology and management concepts and operations are overwhelmed by or shielded from the consumer of customer view. Programs/Mission are not informed of what IT has to do. Thus executive direction is disconnected, sometimes thus IT solutions or operations funding tie executives hands. Business agility gets put on backburner regardless of what Portfolio/Project Management is in place.
  • Surviving, not Thriving – Mission management model or system not designed to manage sustained change and transition. They are designed to deliver a product or service, if lucky.
  • Stovepiped Policy creates stovepipe programs: Cannot collaborate – need to get my task done now. Without collaboration, there is an inability for prioritization methods or techniques to be imparted and use effectively at all tiers of management.
  • Funding mismatch: Budget is a constraining variable in all work formulas precluding optimization across elements. These may be synthesied or aggrgated – mixed and matched as you see fit. Some programs may actually be funded right, but key functions of program budget are misaligned limiting what can be accomplished as a whole.
  • Enterprise Planning flavor of the day: Due to either past failures, or perception that new approaches are repackaged ways tried before kills internal buy-in towards integrated or collaborative techniques. Enterprise architecture, team functional/segment analysis, or agile project management may have been “tried” before, but instead of evaluating failure as tried to take on too much scope, other factors not resolved above, or simply, was over-engineered, are usually not labelled as the cause. The baby gets thrown out with the bath water or enterprise planning gets tossed aside due to lack of leadership, mistrust or burn-out.
  • Imbalance of Leadership Styles: Quick deciders, Stalling Stabilizers, Never-satisfied Challengers, Start-up Innovators – whatever the persona,  a lack of understanding of what each brings causes consternation or even over imbalance towards one style. Which leads to no decisions, status quo, low morale, or too much change.


Xentity is awarded USGS IDIQ for Enterprise and Solution Architecture

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Xentity has been awarded a 5 year (base year plus 4 option year vehicle) for providing enterprise and solution architecture services to the USGS. 

Xentity has been awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract by USGS.  This blanket contract vehicle enables any and all USGS mission areas and programs to gain access to Xentity’s services through Firm Fixed Price task orders.  This contract vehicle has established terms and conditions allowing the task orders to be issued without any further competition or sole-source justification.  And, since Xentity is an 8(a) certified small disadvantaged business, task orders for this IDIQ contribute to USGS goals for small disadvantaged business contracting.

Services Available on the IDIQ Vehicle

The scope of work that can be performed through this IDIQ include the full range of enterprise architecture (EA) and solution architecture services:

  • Building a holistic view of an organization’s strategy, processes, information and IT assets
  • Linking the mission, strategy and processes of an organization to its IT strategy
  • Documenting architectural models that show how an organization’s future needs will be met
  • Connecting the enterprise architecture to the application/solution architecture

Xentity achieves these EA objectives through the following established approaches and activities as described on Architecture such as :

Architecture Design and Analysis

Architecture Change and Project Management

  • Operational Concept Modeling
  • Business Process Modeling
  • Business Process Re-Engineering
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics
  • Solution Architecture Alternative Analysis
  • Architecture Prototypes/beta Development (i.e. cloud, database, frameworks, applications)
  • Requirements Development
  • EA Blueprints and Roadmaps
  • EA Information Management (Collection, Maintenance, Reporting)
  • EA Governance Activities
  • Analysis Workshops and Facilitation
  • Decision Workshops and Facilitation
  • Compliance Support Activities (CPIC/OMB-300)
  • Change Management
  • Communications Planning
  • Strategic and Multimedia Communications
  • Program Management Office (PMO) Administration

IDIQ Facts and Figures

Contract Name

Enterprise Architecture and Solution Architecture Services

Contract Number

G12PS00307

Sponsor

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Contract Ceilings

$540,000 (Annual) / $2,700,000 (Current Set Ceiling, Lifetime) / $4,000,000 (Max Ceiling lifetime if modified)

Period of Performance

  • Base Year: 06/01/2012 – 05/31/2013
  • Option Year 1: 06/01/2013 – 05/31/2014
  • Option Year 2 (TBD): 06/01/2014 – 05/31/2015

Three Remaining Option Years: 06/01/2014 – 05/31/2017

Contract Type

Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ); Firm Fixed Price (FFP) Task Orders

 Prime Contractor

Xentity Corporation an 8(a) Certified Small Disadvantaged Business

14143 Denver West Pkwy Suite 100 

Golden, CO 80401

TIN:      56-2323069 /  DUNS:     152419722

Task Order History

Xentity has performed a number of task orders on this IDIQ vehicle to date.

Core Science Systems – Efficiencies (G12PD00881)
For Core Science Systems (CSS), Xentity provided a rapid assessment of current architecture across 20+ earth science data catalog programs and systems.

Land Remote Sensing – Requirements Management Solution (G12PD00857)
For the Land Remote Sensing (LRS) program, Xentity developed the conceptual and solution architecture for earth observation requirements management.

National Geospatial Program – Enterprise & Solution Architecture (G12PD00748)
For the National Geospatial Program (NGP), Xentity established the governance mechanisms for managing the program’s investment portfolios for systems development, IT infrastructure, data acquisition and production. 

Community for Data Integration (G12PC00035)
For the USGS Community for Data Integration (CDI), Xentity identified and supported proposals for CDI research projects.

Contract Performance Ratings

Evaluation Area

Rating

Trend

Quality of Product or Service

Exceptional

+

Schedule

Exceptional

+

Cost Control

Exceptional

+

Management of Key Personnel

Exceptional

+

Utilization of Small Business

Very Good

+

 *In a Contract Performance Assessment Report System(CPARS) as made by previous USGS Contract Officer responsible for this IDIQ and multiple of Xentity USGS Contracts.

How to Proceed

To facilitate the process, Xentity has developed a template for both parties to share information about needs and capabilities.  Simply contact us to being the process. 

For information on other Xentity contracting vehicles visit /wiki/display/public/Schedules .

Contact Info:

sales@xentity.com 

PO Box 17887

Golden, CO 80402

720-663-8335 | phone

814-253-4734 | fax

http://www.xentity.com